Chocolate Elves Save Valentine’s Day

If you sell wings or beer, or deliver pizzas, Sunday’s Super Bowl is huge.

If you’re Le Rouge Chocolates, the next day — Valentine’s — is your Super Bowl.

Aarti Khosla — owner of the popular Main Street shop — spends months preparing for the holiday. She stocks up on ingredients and takes orders. But she can’t begin making her wonderful creations too early. She and her employees gear up mentally for a very busy few days.

Less than 2 weeks ago, a fully trained chocolate maker stepped away due to health issues. Another left for personal reasons.

Ten days before her biggest day of the year, Aarti had absolutely no help.

There was no way even the indefatigable owner could make nearly 10,000 truffles, mendiants, almond Rochers and chocolate covered strawberries by herself.

So she did what chocolatiers have done for centuries: She posted about her predicament on social media.

Longtime customers — and others who recently found her — responded. After work and school, they poured in to help.

A trio of helpers.

“They packed. They organized. They kept my sanity,” Aarti says.

Ten years after opening, Aarti is still awed by this community.

“The best part of this journey is the sense of belonging,” she says.

“A lot of these women have high-powered jobs. They’re lawyers and executives. But they take time out of their super-busy schedules to help.

“They say it gives them pleasure, because no one goes away unhappy from a chocolate shop. When I try to thank them, they say it’s because of what I put out in the universe. But we all know that not everyone is as lucky as I am, to receive it back.”

Sealing the deal.

And speaking of giving it back: Aarti keeps paying it forward.

Ten percent of all sales this month will be donated to local food banks.

(Kudos to Aarti’s helpers: Westporters Alison Angus, Joëlle Berger, Lisa Marriott, Jennifer Wolter and Keelin Wolter; Westonites Laura Shepard, Meredith Shepard, Debbie Mergerg, Susan Moch, Dawn Watson and Pat Weist; Monroe residents Theresa Shields and her sons Owen and Liam, and Joli Gross from Greenwich.)

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